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Brethrengate II: Wide Arc

Mon 2 Oct 2006 In: Comment

Where does one begin to recount what's been happening over the Brethrengate II story arc over the last fortnight? In Australia, the story might be leaking through to affect the electoral prospects of the conservative Coalition state parties within Victoria, while federal PM John Howard has candidly stated that he met with members of that sect. The Australian, Tasmanian and Victorian Greens want electoral donor transparency and accountability legislation in place. In New Zealand, matters have moved rapidly. The Labour Party is expected to end up stripping the Exclusive Brethren of anti-union workplace special rights, and Don Brash has been forced to distance himself from them. although not so Bob Clarkson, National's Tauranga candidate. Meanwhile, New Zealand First's Ron Mark reported that the Exclusive Brethren offered its caucus members cash to split away from their party, which is guaranteed to anger Winston Peters, and fuel further divisions between National and New Zealand First. United Future's Gordon Copeland reports that his minor party was similarly lobbied. There is now building momentum for either a government bill on the subject, or a Royal Commission of Inquiry into electoral spending. Property law, educational policy and other issues may well come under the spotlight, as Labour seeks to defang the predatory religious organisation. Meanwhile, even most other fundamentalists have realised that they need to dissociate themselves from the Exclusive Brethren, and certainly, mainline Protestant, Catholic and Muslim organisations have moved quickly to do so. At the same time, the Exclusive Brethren carry on, in the same provocative and aggravating manner, hiring private investigators to try to smear the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers. It may be the case that the private investigation industry faces stiffer regulation as a consequence of these shenanigans. Meanwhile, Investigate has stated that it has nothing to do with the Exclusive Brethren or their henchmen. In doing so, they've insured that the story won't go away, and if National's leader or caucus members actually do turn out to have had more than a passing association with this shadowy sect, they're increasing possible collateral damage risks. How long will it be before this story arc reaches its tipping point, and there is collateral damage? And have the Exclusive Brethren driven a large stake in the prospects of right-wing backlash politics under any future centre-right politics as they continue their quest to interfere with New Zealand's internal politics? Recommended: New Zealand media Risible: Ian Wishart's silly blog Craig Young - 2nd October 2006    

Credit: Craig Young

First published: Monday, 2nd October 2006 - 12:00pm

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